Born in Georgia, US in 1939 and son of a Pentecostal Preacher, Roddis Franklin Drake, a.k.a Pete Drake, was a Nashville-based American record producer and pedal steel guitar player. He’s one of those artists that you would presume everyone has heard of, given the mass kudos his guitar playing earned him, but up until 2019 after discovering Spook, I’d never heard of this mighty man!
Pete Drake was one of the most sought-after backup musicians of the 1960’s and was also the owner and operator of Pete Drake Productions, Inc. He worked with many country artists throughout his career, including the likes of Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Tammy Wynette, Joan Baez, Lynn Anderson, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Elvis Presley, and earlier this year, 33 years after his death, was introduced to the Country Music Hall of Fame!
His innovative use of what would be called the talk box, later used by Peter Frampton, Joe Walsh, Roger Troutman and Jeff Beck, added novel effects to the pedal steel guitar. The unique sound of the talk box with a steel guitar was new in the 1960s, and it made the sounds of vocalizing along with the strings of the steel guitar. According to an interview of Drake:
You play the notes on the guitar and it goes through the amplifier. I have a driver system so that you disconnect the speakers and the sound goes through the driver into a plastic tube. You put the tube in the side of your mouth then form the words with your mouth as you play them. You don’t actually say a word: The guitar is your vocal cords, and your mouth is the amplifier. It’s amplified by a microphone.
Forever is a heavenly dreamy single that he released in 1964. It was one of his biggest selling 45’s and reached No.25 in the Billboard Hot 100; eventually selling over one million copies and earning Drake a gold disc!! It’s the perfect way to see out this wonderful Solstice evening and a truly blissful way to drift into dreamland..zzzzz… Enjoy!